The University of Newcastle, Australia

Research to stop diabetes in its tracks

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Diabetes researcher Dr Rohith Thota understands what a powerful force family can be in the quest to tackle one of the world’s biggest and most costly health problems. The high prevalence of diabetes in his own family and local community provoked his curiosity and set him on a path to pursue his goals through a PhD program as a recipient of the Neville Eric Sansom Scholarship.

Dr Rohith Thota, diabetes researcher and recipient of the Neville Eric Sansom Scholarship

Ground-breaking early detection tool transforms global fight against diabetes

Eric Sansom left a generous bequest of $350,000 to the University of Newcastle in 2011 after seeing his own son, Neville, suffer with diabetes. Mr Sansom requested that the money go towards supporting further research into the disease.

During his PhD, Dr Thota developed and validated InsuTAG®, a highly sensitive predictor of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, precursors for the development of diabetes. InsuTAG® has the potential to serve as a mainstream diagnostic tool, years before patients develop diabetes and its complications, including cardiovascular disease.

He is now working on one of Australia’s largest longitudinal database studies to determine whether InsuTAG® can predict type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.

Preliminary analysis has indicated that, with high sensitivity and probability, InsuTAG® can predict development of diabetes 12 years before its onset, which could be a game- changer in the global fight against the disease.

"Financial support from the scholarship allowed me to focus completely on my studies. Today I’m able to meet and work with world leaders in diabetes research and contribute to the local and global fight against diabetes. None of this would have been possible without the support of the Neville Eric Sansom Scholarship.” - Dr Rohith Thota, Conjoint Fellow, Nutraceuticals Research Program, School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy.

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